RIM’s CEO defends brand, says he’s looking forward “to winning back many who have left”

Ian Hardy

October 17, 2012 6:11 pm


RIM is strong. The company has over 80 million BlackBerry subscribers and over 60 million BBM users. They have no debt and are going through a massive transition – one they need to go to compete against other manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple.

Yesterday the New York Times ran an article that states some BlackBerry users are ‘ashamed’ to bring their device out in public. Many loyal BB users were shocked, some were not. Twitter was filled with the #ProudToBeTeamBlackBerry and #BB10believe hashtags. In an effort to calm the storm, Thorsten Heins, RIM’s CEO, took the time to write a letter to the NYT. He stated the article “lacks the balance your readers expect” and that that “any report of dissatisfaction among our users is a cause for concern,” but legions of supportive words from BlackBerry users were “encouraging to me.”

It’s a good read and Heins also noted they “appreciate the customers who have remained loyal to the BlackBerry platform and look forward to winning back many who have left.” BlackBerry 10 is on track for a release in Q1 2013. Read the full letter below:

To the Editor:
“BlackBerry as Black Sheep in Smartphones” (Business Day, Oct. 16) lacks the balance your readers expect.

With more than 80 million customers globally, BlackBerry is growing and remains one of the world’s most popular smartphones. I’ve just come from visiting carriers and partners in all parts of the world, and they have told me that there are millions of BlackBerry fans out there who not only find great value in their device, but also pride in being a BlackBerry owner.

While any report of dissatisfaction among our users is a cause for concern that I take very seriously, the comments supporting BlackBerry both online and in calls we’ve received from our customers in response to your article are encouraging to me.

BlackBerry remains the leader in providing security for corporate customers, which is why more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500 rely on BlackBerry. It’s true that some companies put restrictions on accessing certain applications for security reasons, but applications like Yelp and OpenTable are, in fact, among the approximately 100,000 apps available in BlackBerry AppWorld.

We’ve received excellent feedback from carriers, developers and partners for our upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform and are on track to deliver it in the first quarter of 2013. We appreciate the customers who have remained loyal to the BlackBerry platform and look forward to winning back many who have left.

THORSTEN HEINS
President and Chief Executive
Research In Motion
Waterloo, Ontario, Oct. 16, 2012

Source: NYT

  • Martin Chmiel

    I have to give kudos to Thor for these op-eds. Not only for the fact that he is doing them, but he does a good job at it as well. A while back he did one here in town for the Kitchener Record, and now the NYT. Good job Mr. Heins!

    • Zeke

      I am a long time BB user and I am DAMN ashamed to use that garbage.

    • hoo dat

      Honestly, if you’re embarrassed by a device that says far more about you than the device itself.

  • eshizzi

    The CEO’s initiatives / communications give me hope for BlackBerry!

  • Pruowd Canadadian

    Oh yes get the rim and get from CAnada!
    Your aloud to buy from CAnda.
    Dont buy that chaep asean junk.
    Go RIm and GO cAnada.

  • Pruowd Canadadian

    ADn dont forgot qeubeKKK!

    • Cigar Surgeon

      I’m also a Canadian and I’m embarrassed by every part of what you just wrote.

  • jonny

    BB is going to make a big comeback, and their stock is going to skyrocket from the crazy low price its at right now.

    Too bad I am totally broke and have no money to invest.

    • JustMeAndMe

      that was a good joke, but now let’s move on…

  • Brian

    Rather than focusing the efforts on the those who have left, RIM should focus on retaining the customers who are about to leave.

    • Concern

      Wrong!
      They put their efforts in BB10!
      WTF is Heins doing from 9-5??
      What are the rest of the employees doing??
      There should be no holidays for anybody Globally and working 6 days a week in order to bring BB10 as eary as possible.

      They keep doing “Jams”, damage Control, Leaks, rumours, but they don’t do the things they should:
      Clear the Playbooks at $99 and get rid of them once and for all
      Reduce price of remaining stock: BB 9900 at $600??? LOL!!
      Start selling BB10 devices at stores (not “releasing BB10 as planned) by mid March.

    • BB

      @concered. Playbook is undervalued. With updates and QNX coming to it they don’t need to drop price. BB9900 is worth the $99 on a 3 year contract as businesses don’t care. Damage control??? Apple releasing the mini ipad is damage control, what RIM is doing is fighting back. ps q1 is march. you want them to pull an apple and give you unfinished products?

    • Johentie

      they are by giving u glimpses of what to expect from bb10.. duhh

  • Thomson

    They’re probably talking about i***t consumers that want the latest fad. Stupid NYT doesn’t consider enterprise users. Only teenagers would actually care what other people think about their phones.

  • Jorge

    It’s great they have loyal supporters. But they loyalists aren’t going to save the com

  • TyroneLT

    While RIM isn’t going the way of the dinosaur, I’m not sold on them winning back the masses that have left and are for the most part happily locked in 2/3-year contracts on Android and iOS devices. They really missed boat by not releasing a competitive product this year and last. They can only hope that Windows 8 bombs so they can have a clear shot at the #3 spot.

    • Jack

      They already have the #3 spot. They have 80 million customers. Does Windows Phone even have 10 million yet?

      The key trick for them will be retaining it.

    • Jack

      And I quite like Windows Phone. Nice UI, the Nokia Lumina’s are slick hardware. But this whole “Windows Phone is #3″ is ridiculous. They don’t even have a fraction of as many users yet. And it’s true, Microsoft *could* take it. They could also do a Zune or Windows Mobile too …

    • Johentie

      seriously… what makes 2012 the year that EVERYONE’s contract is up!?!?!

      did i miss something? or did not one sign a 2-3 year contact after 2009/2010?

  • Handheld Addict

    While I hope for the best for Blackberry and I don’t mean to quibble, your description of BB10:

    “BlackBerry 10 is on track for a release in Q1 2013.”

    Is “true” for now, but after so many delays, ‘on track’ shouldn’t be used to describe the release schedule of BB10.

  • Jonny

    Oh, when you wish upon a star. Too bad people are already in a committed relationships with iOS and Andriod.

    • BB

      thats crazy, most of apples and samsungs sales probably come from broken contracts. Most peoples phones don’t last an entire contract cycle unless you have a blackberry. I still have a blackberry 7290, yes the blue one. Its almost 10 years old and still working.

  • Adam

    Of course a CEO is going to be excited and believe in his products.
    I’ve had a Blackberry since getting in to smartphones back in ’08, and after spending a year in the cell industry, I’ve seen companies grow, excel and exceed expectations, none of them were RIM.
    My next phone won’t be the BB10, it’ll be Android.
    I don’t need Enterprise, so why stay with Blackberry? I may miss BBM, but the 60 contacts I text outweighs the 5 I message on BBM.
    Sorry RIM, you’re lack in keeping up with the other companies has turned me away.

    • joe

      you need to get a life and make some friends cause most people that have a berry will have more than 5 people they message on bbm…not to mention the keyboard is so much easier and a lot more accurate to type on than the touchscreen keyboard. try typing on your lame iphone without looking at your screen…

  • Matt

    TOO LATE!

  • Sonia

    I can’t wait to get rid oe mine!

  • Sweet

    Several months ago, a report on cellphone usage in Canada was released. It claimed that 39% of Canadians use smartphones. So it looks like there’s still lots of unclaimed terrain in the market for the cellphone makers to plant their flags. I agree with TyronLT that RIM should aim for #3 for now.

    One good thing about RIM keeping low for so long is that when they do come out with a release, it will viewed as something new and refreshing. :-) I hope BB10 is a big success. It will be good for consumers.

  • Miknitro

    Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic err, Good ship BlackBerry.

    nothing to see here.

    • Jack

      Glad you’re taking a break from flipping burgers to write here!

  • theinvisiblehand

    I don’t think it’s too late. If they have the innovative product they claim they have, they could make a comeback. Everyone talks about RIM as a dying company but their bank account and the fact that they have no debts makes them a solid contender. I don’t think HTC has the type of cash RIM has at the moment. I use to be a blackberry user until I switched to a Galaxy Note, but depending on the product I could be brought back.

    The only thing I am afraid of is that they might pull a Sega Dreamcast. Remember how the Dreamcast was far more advanced than the Playstation 1 that came out a few years after. But the public was not ready for that technology when it came out. If BB10 is the revolution RIM says it is, customers might not be ready.

  • jellmoo

    I really want to believe him, and believe that they will be making BB10 an amazing and compelling product. But they are big on promises and light on details, which is worrisome. Everything I have seen about BB10 so far has been very promising, but the kicker will be whether or not they can get developers to back the platform. The head start that iOS and Android have right now is massive, and even Windows Phone seems well poised to be the #3. I want to believe, but the odds are getting worse and worse.

  • Zeake

    wow you people are unforgiving… I like that.

    • Jack

      That’s the Canadian way! Americans cheer for their own. Canadians ridicule theirs.

  • Edge

    I hope RIM pulls it off! BB10, and the new phones look really good.

  • Armchair Investor

    You guys need to put your money where your mouth is. If you believe this strongly in the upcoming landslide success Of BBX… Then you simply MUST take your life savings and literally every cent you have, mortgage your house and put it into RIM stock while it is low.

    What, that would be crazy you say?

    (Lmfao.)

    • hoo dat

      I wouldn’t even do that for a blue chip stock, no-one in their right mind would.

      Yeah, I have money in RIM and have had plenty of opportunties to get out, but having played with a Dev Alpha unit sporting the most recent update I’d have to say that it would be foolish to even think at getting out now. Will I make millions? Nope, but that’s not why I invest. I will, however, make a tidy profit.

      Mock as much as you want. There’s a reason you’re an “armchair investor” and not the real McCoy. It’s about time you got out there and played with the big boys.

    • BB

      i like your style hoo dat. I tend to find a lot of users on here don’t research before they open there mouths. If you go to google and type in bb10 you will see what they are doing. Now if your checking yahoo for your daily dose of tech news you should stop leaving comments.

  • Jesse

    Best of luck RIM, you really need it.

  • Darren

    Wake me when the devices are in consumers’ hands. Say about April 1st.

  • 15ive

    Canada, get ready, 2013, we will be back on top.

  • 4s_2_Android_2_BB

    People keep forgetting that the BB still does the job today.
    I work for a large company and all the BB users get the job done, read email, send BBM or access internal stuff securely. Yes, security is much better on BB, and service is quite reliable.
    My iphone4s can barely keep up with all the emails I get. That’s why it is a toy, same as android. Users that get them are not “really” focused on working and want to get more into games or non work related apps.
    I used to have a BB and I did not use FB or other apps since I did not need them. I did want to try the Apple ecosystem and now I am about to try the Android one.
    One thing is sure, I will go back to BB as soon as their products are suited both for work and personal life.
    Based on the previews I saw I think RIM will win back more users than what they lost. People will remember that BB got the job done, and still do.

  • gramz

    well i had the blackberry for a long time well i went to iphone5 but it got boring i hope they can make a good come back with this blackberry10

  • Manny

    All the best RIM. I switched to I5. But I hope you guys stay in the market , cut throat competition is beneficial for the customers.

  • Strider187

    @ hoo dat ….. couldn’t have said it better myself

  • happyboy

    There is still hope for blackberry yet rim just needs to do the right thing when bb10 comes out I will take a good look for now I will keep my Android tell bb10 come out then decide whether I’m going to get another Android or a blackberry 10 device

  • Malevolent

    While I was routing for Blackberry for a long time I fear it is going to be too late. Our organization is switching from all using BB to letting users get iphones or Android devices this week. As just a phone and email device the BB is great, but now people want to be able to do more with their phone. The most common complaint is how they wish the BB would take pictures as well as the iphones and Android devices.

    I use a BB for my work phone and a Galaxy SIII for my personal one. The only thing I like about the BB is battery life and BBM. My S3 kills it in everything else.

  • Jack

    The NYT article is getting a lot of coverage considering they only talked to 3 people of 80 million …

  • BettyKoyle

    OMG bb10 I’m drooling. Can’t wait OMG

  • Moofer

    Unfortunately many of those who have left are locked into contracts with 2-3 years remaining. So it will be 1-2 years before they start seeing any real growth.

  • Craig

    exactly all those who have left are now in contracts ….. they definitely won’t go back. Sorry RIM, too little too late

  • anon

    Switched to GS3 a few weeks ago after my BB decided to become a paperweight, looking forward to BB10 phones, a Blackberry did everything I needed from a phone.

  • Not a bear

    I don’t have the money to buy devices right when they come out, but RIM, best of luck to you. Although I’m a droid kind of guy, I’d love to see you win people over once again.

  • Lee

    Sorry RIM but I ain’t coming back… I was tired of that stupid loading bar that would literally take half an hour to load and why would any phone take 10 min to turn on???

  • Kroms

    Sorry but switched to Google Android way back and I’m more then happy. I’m not going back to RIM.

    Bring on NEW Google Nexus !

  • BBQ

    LOL, I’m surprise BB is still around these days.
    I think they are done. BB10 or not, it’s not gonna win back any loyal fans who have left. These loyal fans have already jumped ship to Android and iOS and are not looking back.
    Who in their mind would want to wait till March for these BB10 devices? Too little too late….rip RIM.

  • RocMon

    Its interesting how the vibe and mentality of is so divided with RIM and BB10… I wonder what the news/press/blobs(blogs)/’media’ would have responded if RIM would have covertly spun out a new and separate entity and it’s first press release would have been something like ‘Widget Inc. Announces its intentions to enter the mobile computing space with fresh twist on hardware and a completely new scalable, robust security and open-leaning eco system with FY2013 Q1 release date’
    Why do I think everyone would be completely psyc’d to check it out? Logic tells me to be more weary of unknowns but emotion craves new and exciting.

    RIM has experience and has recently (couple yrs) aquired the definitive microkernel OS guys – duh, I logically have to dismiss any (biased) negitivity as just noise… As Mike said very well ‘field of distortion’!

    RIM sucks at delivering on time, okay – so they don’t hit their target dates! Haven’t you been late? Chill on all the fracken drama children and focus on the substance – I’m hope its great and I can’t wait for an alternative to the painfully borring choices we currently have in the pop-culture of mobile!

    Peace and love…~

  • Muriel

    When I first got my BB all my colleagues went ‘Ooh a BlackBerry! What are you going to do with that?! We will never buy one of those.’ Now three years later i am still very happy with mine and 98% of above mentioned colleagues, now own their own BlackBerry’s too.

  • Anant swarup

    I am 100% confident…blackberry will turn around with OS 10.

    They will take adequate market share…and loyal customers trust.

    People are waiting for BB 10.